I've learned a lot of things the hard way, the painful way. I could've saved myself an ocean of tears and a lot of bumps and bruises if someone had told me what I'm about to tell you.
Lots of people did try to help me along the way, including the authors of the nearly 3,000 books I've read. I love learning from people who have taken the time to write what about what they learned along the way. I have absorbed advice like a sponge. The problem is that the conclusion I drew from many of those books was that attainment of what the world calls success was the ultimate goal of life.
In the 1980's I read and listened to everything I could get my hands on by Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey, and others. For decades I bought into the notion that if I attained worldly success, life would be grand--possibly even perfect.
It's not just those "success philosophers" who lure people toward so-called success. Hollywood would have us believe that fame and millions of twitter followers is success. Wall Street suggests that millions (and billions) of dollars is success. Fashion designers want us to buy whatever ridiculously overpriced clothes, shoes, and handbags are trending now (that will not be in style 3 months from now), as though wearing the right clothes is an indicator of genuine success. Nope. Nope. Nope.
I know the difference between real success and its deceptive counterfeit because I chased what the world called success from the day I emancipated from the child welfare system at 16 years of age. I became California's youngest licensed insurance agent when I was 17. I bought my first house when I was 19. I acquired my first rental property when I was 21. I started my first business when I was 27. And I worked my way up to having what that the world calls success. I can attest personally to the truth that having a national business, an enormous mansion, my dream house on the beach in Malibu, and the Ferrari to get back and forth does not define success. Those were some of the most miserable years of my life.
To help you avoid wasting years (even decades) chasing the wrong things--things that are not necessarily indicators of authentic success, I want to share what I've learned about creating real personal and professional success. Not what the world calls success, but true success, which is synonymous with finding and fulfilling the unique purpose for your life.
Authentic success has 5 facets, one without the others is not genuine success.
1. The first is healthy relationships with good people. If you have all the money and a million social media followers, yet have no one to call at 3 a.m. when you're in trouble, you don't have real success.
2. The second is good health. If you have lots of good relationships and truckloads of money, but you're physically, mentally, and emotionally unwell, you can't fully enjoy all that you have.
3. The third is peace. Peace doesn't mean that everything is perfect, and that nothing ever goes wrong or gets chaotic. But when you have peace inside of you, it keeps you steady throughout challenges, crisis, and tragedy
4. The fourth is joy, which is much more than happiness. Happiness depends on external circumstances, but joy is internal. We've all had the experience of feeling happy but then something happens, like someone short-changing you or cutting you off in traffic, and you're instantly not happy anymore. Joy, on the other hand, helps you smile through the toughest of times.
5. The fifth facet of real success is enough financial provision to do what you were meant to do. Lots of people spend their whole lives striving to make money, often at the cost of their relationships. What they don't know is that you can have a billion dollars in cash and not be truly successful, because if you don't have healthy relationships with people you can trust, good health, peace, and joy, all the money in the world won't fix what's wrong and fill what's missing.
So, there you have it. Success is not having the biggest house, the newest car, or the most friends. If you still think that those things indicate success, you should know that a lot of what you see isn't real-- the houses are rented, the cars are leased, and the social media followers were purchased--meaning that as soon as the payments stop, those things disappear. Success is not climbing the corporate ladder to the C-suite or building a profitable company-- there will always be someone behind you trying to knock you off that ladder. Real success is not being with the in-crowd-- that crowd could be gone this time next year.
Don't fall for deceptive time wasters that steal the irredeemable time of your life by luring you into chasing the wrong things. Real success is having a balanced measure of all five of these priceless things. When you have these, you have the best that this life has to offer.
Rhonda Sciortino, author of 30 Days To Happiness (featured on Ellen DeGeneres' show and included in her Kind Box), used the coping skills acquired throughout a chaotic and abusive childhood to create personal and professional success. Through her speaking, writing, media appearances, videos, and Empowering Resilience Podcast, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to a their real success.